The real reason why 23-yr-old Peter Alli son of a Gombe pastor would take his life for an undisclosed sin is perplexsing, writes correspondent Ohonba Vincent
The serenity of Peter Ali’s neighbourhood at Federal Low Cost area of Gombe metropolis was disturbed three Fridays ago. First, a house was gutted by fire and while residents were still perplexed over that, news filtered in that vibrant, promising Peter Ali had hung himself.
The news of the young man’s death raised many questions that begged for answers, especially those that knew him closely enough to know that the 23-year old just made his school certificate papers and was preparing for a post-UME test.
Most-of-all is his father, Reverend Ali Sule, Pastor of the Federal Low Cost branch of Assemblies of God Church, because his son woke up that morning healthy, looking promising and not distressed over anything.
He said the family prayed together that morning, but the late Peter never told any member of the family about any problem, even as there had been no bickering in the house that may have irked or sparked-off a reaction in him.
Besides, the unsuspecting preacher was the one who encouraged the couple that experienced fire outbreak in the same neighbourhood that morning, oblivious what fate had in store for him.
He said he returned from the completion of his bank verification number, BVN with Sterling Bank that Friday afternoon and was studying the church’s sunday school quarterly and Holy Bible in preparation for the Sunday School Preparatory Class slated for 5:00pm that day when he received the news of his son’s death.
“On that Friday morning, one of our neighbour’s house was gutted by fire. So I went there to pray and encourage them. From there I went to Sterling Bank for this verification thing. When I came back, after staying outside for a while, I decided to come in and study my Quarterly and Bible because we had a Sunday school preparatory class by 5:00pm.
“I was doing just that when the owner of the opposite house came to inspect his project. He usually takes one month plus before coming. But that day, God brought him. He opened the gate and he saw the boy hanging on a tree.
“So he rushed to my house shouting hysterically, doctor, doctor, doctor, come and see somebody in my house! Somebody in my house! I went there and discovered it was my son; he was hanging from a mango tree.
The preacher added that they were still wondering what would have made him commit suicide when a retired Superintendent of Police in the neighbourhood advised them to search his pockets and through his belonging for a likely pointer to Peter’s decision.
He then searched and found a note in his clothes, saying, ‘Daddy, please have a place in your heart to forgive me, Mummy, please have a place in your heart to forgive me. I have committed sin. Please warn my brothers and sisters not to commit sin because sin leads to death’.
“But he didn’t mention what kind of sin it was that he could not tell us about so we could counsel him.”
He said Peter who is the first of his five children, three boys and a girl, may not have been very serious with church activities, but had been well behaved, hence it was more difficult to ascertain the reason he chose to terminate his life.
Reverend Sule is indigene of Gelengu town in Balanga Local Government Area of Gombe State who had been a pastor for over 26 years, said the he had not buried any of his members, not even a day old. However, his joy and consolation is that when it is fated to happen, it was in his household.
Rather than being downcast, the preacher is not only stoic, but also an encouragement to those who have called to encourage him. To him, it is a practical test of ability to practice what he preaches that is giving thanks to God in everything.
He is more comfortable to be at the receiving end because he believes the ordinary member would probably have been devastated or falter if not fall in faith; though God knows he best.
His reason for feeling that way is because the incident took place three days (Wednesday) after the church got a revelation that premature death loomed in their midst and prayed against it generally and for God’s mercy because who and how were not revealed t them.
Moreover, he said God has been very faithful to him because his preaching life had been full of acceptance and love from his flock.
“So, even with this incident, I don’t have any regret because devil has no power to pull me down. My wife is strongly backing me that devil will pull us down because my Bible tells me that in everything, we should glorify Him (God).
“So since the incident, I am glorifying God because there is no reason for me to say the all knowing God has wronged me. After all, I did not come to this world with a child and will not go back with any. It is the one He gives that He takes.
“I believe God has power to have rescued him; if he (Peter) had allowed it by speaking to we the parents or somebody about his problem(s), God through the counsel he would have received would have saved him from that death. But all the same, it has happened and I cannot blame or fault God,” he said.
Reverend Ali and his wife had not had any problem with their deceased son right from birth till the day he passed on, describing him as very humble, homely and dutiful.
He said they on their parts tried to be the best parents they could be, which in the first place was the reason why the Honda ‘Hennessey’ car he bought the week before the ugly incident, was like Peter’s.
This is why I was telling people at the graveyard that we should be watchful of our children, that no matter how we think we know them, there might still be something very important we need to know about them,” he said.